Historical ruins, bike riding, and one awful bus ride.
We have had a relaxing three nights in the quiet town of Sukhothai. With just 39000 people, it's been a big change from Thailand's busy cities. We have a weak internet connection here so uploading pictures is time consuming.
Our travel to Sukhothai was quite a challenge. We bought 2nd class tickets on a bus which seemed perfectly fine for the first two hours.
About two hours into the ride, the bus driver must have been in a hurry because he sped up to over 70 mph on Thailand's bumpy freeways. He was passing huge trucks on the right and on the left. DH and I lost our cool when the bus took a corner too fast and the left side of the bus scraped bottom. I'm pretty sure that the wheels on the right-hand side of the bus were airborne. We could smell the burning metal from inside the bus. The bus swayed back and forth before the driver was able to regain control. Not good. By this point, I was sitting at the edge of my seat with white knuckles. DH was sitting in front of me and was just as aware and concerned. The kids were aware but were in the middle of a movie and less afraid. After the near-accident, the driver seemed to slow down a bit. About 15 minutes later, he was back up to 70 mph around some mountainous terrain. DH made the decision to get off the bus! Luckily, the bus made periodic stops in little towns to pick up or drop off passengers. We opted to get off in some tiny little town. Phew! There were other passengers on board who must be accustomed to crazy drivers. Not us. I was never so relieved to get off a bus! There was a kind man sitting at the small bus stop who witnessed our distress. Even though he didn't speak English, DH was able to use the man's cell phone to talk to his manager in English. The kind man offered to drive us the remaining 2.5-3 hours to Sukhothai in his pick-up truck. We were a tight fit but it felt so much safer than the crazy out of control bus.
We were never so happy to arrive at Baan Georges - literally a mansion with a pool. Ahhh!
We walked to the nearby Poo Restaurant. Of course the kids needed a picture with that sign!
The next day, we enjoyed the relaxed rooftop breakfast and fabulous pool. We swam both in the morning and in the afternoon.
We took a slow open-air bus about 20 minutes to Sukhothai Historical Park where we rented bikes for less than $1 per person. It was relaxing to ride around the park full of historic ruins. We took so many pictures! At one point, we stopped for Thai iced tea. It's our new favorite! We had an easy Thai lunch near the historical park.
DH got a laugh at the men's bathroom signs.
We made our way back to the hotel for more swimming and relaxing. DD#2 and I walked around the workaday town and were most amazed at the local food market. An older Thai lady was killing fish with what looked like a baseball bat and then hacking them into little pieces with a huge cleaver knife. We were completely mesmerized. We continued through the meat and produce sections of the market. Many people stopped to stare, smile, point, or say hello in English or Thai. They aren't used to tourists wandering through the maze of their market.
We found a local pizza place for dinner! Yay for pizza and cheese. A welcome break from noodles and rice.
We had one more day in Sukhothai with little on the agenda. After breakfast and more swimming, we hired a tuk-tuk to take us to a large Casino supermarket complex. We stocked up on snacks, random toiletries we were running low on, and browsed the aisles. We had Thai food for lunch and came home to swim some more. Not a bad day. We walked around Sukhothai a bit more before returning for more pizza! The place was really good and cheap. We've played many games today and are mostly enjoying our time together. The kids are already planning their play-dates with friends upon our return.
Tomorrow, we are planning to take the train to Ayutthaya - a town about 75 kilometers north of Bangkok. We've tried to buy our train tickets online and at a local travel agent with no luck. Today is Sunday and many things are closed. Keep your fingers crossed that we get out of Sukhothai without riding on a crazy bus! I think I'm scarred for life.